25 September 2023

Legal aid under microscope

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The Attorney-General’s Department has issued the terms of reference for two reviews into legal aid arrangements around the nation.

The reviews will look into the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services 2015–20 (NPA) and the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program (ILAP).

Attorney-General, Christian Porter said the reviews would begin next month and should be completed in December, and would help inform future funding arrangements for legal assistance services beyond 30 June 2020.

Mr Porter said the aims of the reviews were to improve access to justice for disadvantaged people and maximise the delivery of legal assistance services with the available resources.

“The reviews will assess the effectiveness, efficiency and appropriateness of the NPA and the ILAP as mechanisms for achieving their respective objectives and outcomes within available resources, and identify best practice and opportunities for improvement,” Mr Porter said.

“As the Commonwealth and the States and Territories are joint parties to the NPA, the review will be jointly led.”

He said a Steering Committee and Advisory Group would support the review, with the Steering Committee comprising representatives from his Department and their counterparts in the States and Territories.

“The Advisory Group consists of representatives from legal assistance peak bodies, representatives from each jurisdiction’s legal assistance sector, research organisations or industry bodies and/or eminent persons with expertise in the sector,” Mr Porter said.

The 12-page terms of reference for the broader legal aid issues can be accessed at this PS News link and the 4-page terms of reference for the Aboriginal Legal Aid review can be accessed at this PS News link.

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